The place of horizon line has shown an important role in the effective use of composition in photography. If you are using the Rule of Thirds to compose a landscape shot you have to ask yourself this question: Where do I place the horizon line? The arrangement of the elements surrounded the horizon line can be a very relevant if you want to have an image with impact. Take a look of these examples and see how I use the horizon line at the top, middle and low points of the frame and how this provides a more interesting composition.
When I see this photo of the wildflowers in a field, I think about texture. My first intention is to show the texture of the field of flowers placing the horizon line in upper side of the screen. This provides me with a visual perspective of the field. The wildflowers are soft and uniform giving me a nice clean and simple composition. The worst place to have the horizon line is in the middle of the frame because this creates an unbalance effect. This cuts the photograph into conflicting halves confusing the viewers. I used Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-80mm lenses and 1/60,F8 and ISO 200.
Picture 2 Cypress Trees in the Mist by Iris Greenwell
The horizon line has been set in the lower part of the frame to emphasize the raising mist from the river and the sizes of the trees.
The mountain on the back of the trees serves as a dark background. This helps the colors of the trees to pop out in its splendor. The side light illuminates the cypress trees for a moment and adding the mystical moment to the scene. I used polarizing filter, tripod and cable release , Nikon D700 and Nikkor 18-200mm lenses @ 36mm. 1//60 sec, F8,ISO200.
Picture 3 Lake Murray by Iris Greenwel
Cypress Trees is not centered and is off to one side, close to the right vertical line of the rule of thirds.
This is more interesting than having the tree placed dead center. The reflection on the lake acts as a mirror and enhances the lines and colors of the image. I left enough foreground to show the beam of light on the dead leaves. When you have an interesting foreground, you can place the horizon line in the upper side of the frame. F16, 0.3 sec, ISO 200, Nikon D700, and Nikkor 18-200mm.
Picture 4 Broken Bow Lake by Iris Greenwell
This photograph, taken at Broken Bow Lake in Oklahoma, reflects the use of higher horizon line and C-shape, which plays well against the trees arrangements. The trees ‘reflection and repetition help us to see a continuative of them. The blue and orange complementary colors make a pleasing contrast in the image. Nikon D200, Nikkor 18-200 mm lens, and 1/30, F11, ISO 200.
There are times when I look at an area and decide to set the main subject off center using the rule of thirds and placing the horizon line 1/3 of the lower place of the frame. The Cypress trees are on the left side of the frame using the on-screen grid in my camera, I found the exact point where I wanted it. The sidelight intensifies the texture of the trees ‘trunk and the colors. Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-80mm lens, 1/13 sec, F11,ISO 200 and polarizing filter, tripod and cable release.